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Diagnosing Heart Disease

Clip Number: 7 of 41
Presentation: Common Heart Conditions, Tests, and Procedures
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Several tests are available to diagnose or look for possible heart disease. The choice of which and how many tests to perform depends on your history of heart problems and current symptoms.
Some of these tests include:
An EKG, or electrocardiogram. This test uses patches applied to the skin of your chest, arms or legs to record the electrical activity of your heart. The test does not specifically locate or identify blockages. The test identifies general areas that may be of concern.
Other tests include: Exercise Stress Tests, Nuclear Scan Stress Tests or a Stress Thallium.
The purpose of these tests is to check the blood supply to your heart muscle, while you are active and resting. The test may reveal areas in your heart that are not getting enough blood, which may indicate heart disease or a previous heart attack. Like an EKG, these tests do not specifically locate or identify blockages. The test identifies general areas that may be of concern.
Cardiac catheterization is another procedure that lets the doctor see inside the heart with a special dye. This helps find any problems inside the heart and inside the arteries. At this time, cardiac catheterization is the most accurate test for looking at your coronary arteries and identifying the location, number and severity of blockages that are affecting your heart muscle.

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